Understanding Kyphosis

Comparison of Kyphosis in SpineKyphosis refers to a forward bend in the spine. In a normal neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine), there is a natural backwards curvature known as a normal lordosis. It is when this natural backwards curve straightens, it is called loss of lordosis. Furthermore, if this straightening progresses to a forward bend, then it is called kyphosis. A typical thoracic spine natural forward bend is between 20-40 degrees, known as normal thoracic kyphosis. Abnormal thoracic kyphosis occurs when this bend increases to more than 40 degrees.

Degrees of Kyphosis and Treatment Options

Structural kyphosis is a result of abnormally shaped vertebrae in the upper thoracic region of the spine. This can occur because of fractures, congenital birth defects, malformation of the spine, Scheuermann’s disease, cancer in the spine, or osteoporosis. It is particularly concerning if the deterioration of the spinal bones are progressing, if the curvature of the spine is especially pronounced, or if it is disrupting important bodily functions. In these cases, while regular exercise, bracing and over-the-counter painkillers might mitigate some of the pain, severe cases require spinal fusion surgery.

Postural kyphotic deformity may occur as the result of poor posture during childhood. As such, it may be treated with aggressive strengthening exercises and postural training.

Kyphosis forces the spine into an unnatural and unbalanced alignment, and therefore the muscles in the spine cannot function efficiently. Consequently, these muscles are prone to fatigue and spasm, both of which can cause a great deal of neck and back pain. In addition, the abnormal alignment of kyphosis increases stress on joints in the spine. This can accelerate the damage of daily wear and tear, leading to advanced arthritis of the spine, or spondylosis. Finally, an excessive curvature can decrease the space available for internal organ such as the lungs and intestines.

Kyphosis occurs when the vertebra become wedge-shaped causing a curvature of more than 40 degrees.

Expert Care from New Jersey’s Most Comprehensive Spine and Neurosurgical Facilities

The expert neurosurgeons at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, and Orthopedics (CNSO), who are both brain and spine surgeons, along with a non-surgical treatment team, excel in all spine conditions whether they respond to conservative treatments or require surgery. Offering multiple facilities spanning from Bergen County to Morris County, including the towns of Parsippany, Paramus, and Landing, NJ, patients are encouraged to learn the most effective back pain relief treatment for their case by contacting the award-winning group at CNSO today.

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